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Recommended Reading: Exum on Civil-Military Affairs


On the topic of President Trump’s norm-busting regarding the military I would recommend the following from Andrew Exum in The Atlantic:  The Dangerous Politicization of the Military. He notes Trump’s transgression, but also the broader context in which his words and actions exist.  It is worth a read.  

One More Observation on the Self-Pardon Issue


It occurred to me after my post this morning:  the thing about the constitutionality of the self-pardon is that the only way to know with certainty if it is constitutional or not is for the SCOTUS to rule after the action is undertaken and challenged.  As such, the only way to have a definitive answer […]

More on Self-Pardoning


Lawrence Tribe, Richard Painter and Norman Eisen argue in WaPo:  No, Trump can’t pardon himself. The Constitution tells us so. They bases their position mostly on the following: The Constitution specifically bars the president from using the pardon power to prevent his own impeachment and removal. It adds that any official removed through impeachment remains fully […]

#SoMuchWinning Update


Via the NYT, Trump’s ‘Great National Infrastructure Program’? Stalled Infrastructure remains stuck near the rear of the legislative line, according to two dozen administration officials, legislators and labor leaders involved in coming up with a concrete proposal. It awaits the resolution of tough negotiations over the budget, the debt ceiling, a tax overhaul, a new push to toughen […]

Tweeting at the Framers (Impeachment Edition)


Political Science Professor Paul Musgrave tweets: That it’s not clear if the president can pardon himself is just another datum showing that The Founders Were Bad At Constitution-Making. — Paul Musgrave🗀 (@profmusgrave) July 22, 2017 At a minimum, it certainly is an example that despite popular conception, the document is not perfect.

White House Communications Director Sends Past Criticism Of Trump Down The Memory Hole

Trump Twitter

Donald Trump’s new Communications Director has spent the weekend deleting all his old tweets criticizing Donald Trump: President Trump’s new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci went on a Twitter purge Friday, deleting years-old tweets bashing his new boss and supporting positions like gun control. One of the deleted tweets referred to the Trump campaign […]

Senate Parliamentarian Deals GOP Repeal-Only Plan A Blow


The Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that the Senate’s bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act without providing for a replacement cannot proceed under the Senate’s reconciliation rules, making it even less likely that the body will be able to pass any health care form bill before the beginning of the summer recess: Several key […]

Leaks: Truth is the Main Issue, not Legality


POTUS tweets: While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017 What is striking about this (and all past rantings about leaks) is that there is rarely a claim […]

Back When the Bush Administration Investigated Voter Fraud


The Trump administration is not the first to investigate the question of voter fraud.  The Bush administration did so as well and a little over ten years ago it reported findings: Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to […]

A Photo for Friday: Prattville in the Distance

“Prattville in the Distance” June 24, 2017 Prattville, AL

It’s as if it isn’t a very Good Bill…


…and that maybe the GOP leadership is showing their lack of seriousness or something. Via the NYT:  Health Care Overhaul Collapses as Two More Republican Senators Defect  Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas declared on Monday night that they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, killing […]

How not to be a Dean


Via the LAT: An overdose, a young companion, drug-fueled parties: The secret life of USC med school dean During his tenure as dean, Puliafito kept company with a circle of criminals and drug users who said he used methamphetamine and other drugs with them, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. Puliafito, 66, and these much younger acquaintances […]

Speaking of the Pence-Kobach Commission…


Rick Hasen points to a link to the agenda of this week’s first meeting of the Pence-Kobach Commission.  As someone who attends a ton of meeting these days, and who sets a fair share of agendas, this reads like a meeting set because they need to have a meeting, not because they really know what they […]

Rick Hasen on our Voting System


A reading recommendation for anyone who missed it, Rick Hasen’s piece in the NYT:  Don’t Let Our Democracy Collapse. He concludes as follows, but I would very much encourage a read of the whole piece: The future is scary. Public confidence in the fairness of the election process is already largely driven by who wins and who loses. […]

Trump Reportedly Won’t Visit Britain Until He Gets Better Press Coverage

Donald Trump

President Trump is apparently saying that he will delay his expected state visit to the United Kingdom until he gets better coverage from the British press: Donald Trump reportedly told Theresa May he will not make a state visit to the UK until he is guaranteed a “better reception”. The US President asked the Prime Minister to […]

Krauthammer on Don Jr.


I tweeted this link out yesterday, but if you missed it, it is worth a read: Charles Krauthammer,  Bungled collusion is still collusion The evidence is now shown. This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks. This is an email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself. A British go-between writes that there’s […]

Brooks on Trump Amorality


David Brook’s NYT column on Don Jr. is worth a read:  Moral Vacuum in the House of Trump He basic conclusion is as follows: That to me is the central takeaway of this week’s revelations. It’s not that the Russia scandal may bring down the administration. It’s that over the past few generations the Trump family […]

Shep Smith’s Days at Fox Numbered?


Granted, he has been critical of the administration before (for example, having strong words about the way the administration treats CNN), but something will have to give at some point, given the overall tenor of the station’s political coverage.  Via WaPo:  ‘Lie after lie after lie’: Fox News’s Shepard Smith has a Cronkite moment on Russia. […]

A Photo for Friday: Warp Speed

“Warp Speed” July 4, 2017 Pike Road, AL

Democrat Bill Murphy Holds Huge Lead In Race To Succeed Chris Christie In New Jersey

New Jersey Sign

A new poll shows the Democratic candidate for New Jersey Governor has a seemingly insurmountable lead over his Republican opponent, who just happens to be Chris Christie’s Lieutenant Governor: The latest poll in the race to succeed Chris Christie as New Jersey’s governor shows Democratic nominee Phil Murphy with a commanding 27-point lead over Republican […]

Justice Dept. Fails To Comply With Court Order To Release Details On Sessions Russia Contacts

Department Of Justice Seal

NPR is reporting that the Justice Department has failed to comply with a Federal District Court’s Order that it provide a list of the Attorney General’s contacts with Russian officials: In defiance of a court order, the Justice Department is refusing to release part of a security form dealing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ contacts […]

McConnell Delays Senate’s Summer Recess Two Weeks

Mitch McConnell

In a sign that the ongoing health care reform debate inside the Senate GOP Caucus is not going well, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced this afternoon that the Senate’s August recess would be delayed two weeks: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that he would cut the chamber’s August recess in half, saying […]

A Quick Russian Translation


Via the NYT: When the Kremlin Says ‘Adoptions,’ It Means ‘Sanctions’  This is likely obvious to anyone who is even passingly familiar with the situation, but this piece is worth a read for a detailed discussion.  It also should take away any thought that a discussion about adoption policy is as innocent or low-wattage as it […]

Australian Journalist’s Trump Takedown Goes Viral

Donald Trump Shrug

An Australian television reporter’s comments about President Trump’s impact on the recently concluded G-20 summit have gone viral: In an Australian news broadcast that seems to have resonated with Americans, a political journalist delivered a scathing evaluation of President Trump’s performance last week at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany. The journalist, Chris Uhlmann, […]

Putin’s Big Win


Via an opinion column by Masha Gessen in the NYT:  Trump Gave Putin Exactly What He Wanted Mr. Putin has for years — 17 years, to be exact, for this is how long he has been in power — been clear about what he wanted from his relationship with the United States president: He wants to […]

The Disaster that is SecState Tillerson


There is a long list of problems associated with the current administration’s utter lack of knowledge about, or interest in, governing, but one of the most obvious and concerning at the moment is the fact that we currently lack a functioning State Department.  Dan Drezner explains:  My so-called Secretary of State. My only quibble with […]

A Photo for Friday: Balloon Guy

“Balloon Guy 2” Bogotá, Colombia May 24, 2014

Meanwhile, in the Land of Legislation…


Via The Hill:  House-Passed Immigration Bills Have Murky Future in Senate A pair of enforcement bills targeting “sanctuary” cities and undocumented immigrants with prior deportations easily passed the House on Thursday, but they face an uphill climb in the Senate. […] votes in the Senate as recently as last year have shown that measures dealing with […]

Trump Profile from 1997


Commenter AndrewBW pointed me to a 1997 profile of Donald Trump from the New Yorker (Trump Solo).  It is illuminating insofar as many of the behaviors we see from the President today are quite evident in the piece. There were a number of striking passages, but this anecdote struck me: We hadn’t been airborne long when Trump […]

Today in Poor Defenses


Writing at Mediate, Joe Bielle has a piece entitled:  President Trump Deserves Credit For Taking On Bullies Like Mika Brzezinski Make no mistake, Donald Trump’s supposedly vicious attacks are always in response to vicious attacks against him. He does not retaliate with personal attacks against people who simply question his policy proposals. First, what policy […]

Trump is not a Hypocrite


I cannot disagree with Damon Linker’s assessment: Trump follows just one, unwavering standard: the advancement of his own good. If electoral meddling by a hostile foreign power benefits him, he has no problem with it. If the meddling harms him, he’s outraged by it. No hypocrisy. Just perfectly consistent, morally poisonous egoism. Hypocrisy is impossible […]

Speaking of the ELN…


Here is a brief Reuters report on the recent developments in the Colombian governement’s talks with the ELN that I mentioned in a previous post:  Colombia and ELN rebels move peace talks toward ceasefire. Pablo Beltran, leader of the ELN negotiating team in Quito, Ecuador, said the rebels would like to see a ceasefire in […]

Huh? (Well Beyond Infinity Edition)


From Remarks by the President Signing an Executive Order on the National Space Council THE PRESIDENT: […] So, I just want to tell you that we are now going to sign an executive order, and this is going to launch a whole new chapter for our great country. And people are very excited about it […]

Interview with Colombian President Santos


To go along with my post on the Colombian peace process, here is an interview (in English) with President Juan Manual Santos that is worth watching if one is interested in the current situation. (And from about 7 minutes on, watch Santos try to be diplomatic about the current US administration).

Line of the Day: Tweets and Mika Edition


“He should be a lot more worried about NATO and building a relationship with Angela Merkel than he is with cable news hosts.”–Joe Scarborough. This, in a nutshell, captures one of the major problems (although not the only one) revealed by this current (but not singular) brouhaha over presidential tweets.  Donald J. Trumps is president […]

The New York Post On Trump’s Tweets

Trump Twitter

The New York Post has published an editorial on President Trump’s latest Twitter tirade: Stop. Just stop. Really, that’s all that needs to be said. The editorial links to a Post article about Trump’s attacks on Mika Brezinski yesterday and pretty much says all that needs to be said. Incidentally, a report yesterday on MSNBC stated that […]

German Parliament Approves Bill Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

German Flag

The German Parliament has approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the country, a somewhat surprising move ahead of Federal elections in this fall: BERLIN — When Sarah Kermer proposed to her girlfriend in March, she knew she was in love, but she did not know when, if ever, Germany would allow them to marry. The […]

A Photo for Friday: Magic Chapel

“Magic Chapel”June 14, 2017Hot Springs, AR

Some Anemic Defenses of Trump’s Tweets


In regards to the recent Trump Tweets about Mika Brzenski, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao offers the following pathetic defense: “The president is a citizen as well, and he says what he wants to say,” Chao said at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. “I think one of […]

The End Of An Era At The Supreme Court

Lyle Denniston

In addition to marking the end of the October 2016 term of the Supreme Court, today also marked the end of an era in the Supreme Court Press Room. After some 58 years covering the Supreme Court of the United States, a career that has covered Court’s overseen a body led by Chief Justices Earl […]

Supreme Court Term Ends With No Retirement Announcement

Supreme Court Building

There’s plenty of news out of the Supreme Court today, including rulings on the stay against the Trump Administration’s travel ban, a ruling on an important First Amendment Free Exercise of Religion case, the decision by the Court to accept the appeal involving a Colorado baker’s claim that their religious beliefs should exempt them from […]

Conservatives Sign Agreement with the DUP


Via the BBC:  Conservatives agree pact with DUP to support May government Under the so-called “confidence and supply” arrangement, the DUP will line up behind the government in key votes, such as on the Queen’s Speech and Budgets, which would threaten the government’s survival if they were lost. They will also back Theresa May on […]

U.S. Led Coalition In Syria Killed Nearly 500 Innocent Civilians In One Month


The current American-led campaign against ISIS in Syria has led to the deaths of nearly 500 civilians, according to a United Nations study: The US-led coalition killed nearly 500 civilians in one month in its pursuit of Islamic State militants in Syria, in what the United Nations has called a “staggering loss of life”. Some […]

Bill Cosby To Teach Men To Avoid Sexual Assault Allegations (Updated)

Bill Cosby In Court

Bill Cosby is planning to spend the summer teaching men how to avoid sexual assault allegations: Bill Cosby is planning a series of town hall meetings this summer to educate people, including young athletes and married men, on how to avoid accusations of sexual assault, two of his representatives said Wednesday. The announcement came just days […]

A Photo for Friday: “Into Blue”

“Into Blue” April 30, 2014 Pike Road, AL

The Continued Action Hero Fantasy


Representative Roger Williams (R-TX25) as quoted in the DMN (Ballfield ambush ‘might’ve been a little different’ had congressmen been armed, Texan says): “He had rifles, he had guns, pistols. All we had were bats and balls,” Williams said. “Frankly, if we would have been able to carry arms, it might’ve been a little different.” First, is […]

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke No Longer Being Considered For DHS Position


David Clarke, the controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff who was apparently up for consideration for a position at the Department of Homeland Security before it was revealed that he had plagiarized his Master’s Thesis, is no longer under consideration for a Federal Government position: WASHINGTON — David A. Clarke Jr., the polarizing Milwaukee County sheriff and a […]

About that Trump as Caesar Thing…


If you haven’t noticed it, here’s the story via the NYT:  Two Protesters Disrupt ‘Julius Caesar’ in Central Park and another version via BoGlo: Knives are out for theaters that bear the name ‘Shakespeare’.  The result has been a lot of sturm und drang on TV and online, and the pulling of sponsorships. In reviewing the various responses online […]

Helmut Kohl, Chancellor Who Reunited Germany, Dies at 87

German Flag

Helmut Kohl, who served as Chancellor of West Germany from 1982 to 1989 and then presided over the reunification with East Germany, has died at age 87: Helmut Kohl, a towering postwar figure who reunified Germany after 45 years of Cold War antagonism, propelled a deeply held vision of Europe’s integration and earned plaudits from […]

A Photo for Friday: Rain and Urban Light

“Rain and Urban Light” Bogotá, Colombia May 21, 2014

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